Fox News Network

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  • Pentagon Criticizes Benghazi Committee For Straining DOD Resources, Partly Over “Speculation”

    Right-Wing Media Has Hyped False Claims And Speculation Into Benghazi That Continue To Fuel The GOP Investigation

    Blog ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

    The Department of Defense criticized the investigation of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, saying repeated requests for documents and information have strained DOD resources and that they’re often based on, as Politico put it, “speculative or hypothetical” queries. Right-wing media have created many of the baseless conspiracy theories that helped create and fuel the Benghazi committee.

    In an April 28 letter to the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Assistant Secretary of Defense Stephen Hedger explained the strain the House investigation has had on the DOD, which has spent “millions of dollars on Benghazi-specific Congressional compliance, including reviews by four other committees.” Hedger specifically took issue with the ever-expanding investigation -- and its speculative nature -- noting that “DoD interviewees have been asked repeatedly to speculate or engage in discussing on the record hypotheticals posed by Committee Members and staff.” Politico reported on the letter:

    The Pentagon is pushing back against the House Benghazi Committee, saying its repeated requests for documents and interviews are straining the department's resources — and, to make matters worse, many of the queries are speculative or hypothetical.

    Assistant Secretary of Defense Stephen Hedger complained in a letter to the committee on Thursday about its continued demands for information, and implied that the panel is grasping to make assertions based on theory rather than facts.

    “[W]hile I understand your stated intent is to conduct the most comprehensive review of the attack and response, Congress has as much of an obligation as the executive branch to use federal resources and taxpayer dollars effectively and efficiently,” the letter reads. “The Department has spent millions of dollars on Benghazi-specific Congressional compliance, including reviews by four other committees, which have diligently reviewed the military’s response in particular.”

    Hedger also complained that Defense Department interviewees “have been asked repeatedly to speculate or engage in discussing on the record hypotheticals.”

    “This type of questioning poses the risk that your final report may be based on speculation rather than a fact-based analysis of what a military officer did do or could have done given his or her knowledge at the time of the attacks,” he wrote.

    Fox News was central to the launch and perpetuation of false information that led to the establishment of the Benghazi Select Committee. By May 2, 2014 -- 20 months after the attack -- Fox had devoted 1,098 segments to Benghazi, with 97 percent of its congressional and administration interviews featuring Republicans. In fact, House Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) repeatedly used Fox News as a platform to push speculation and false claims about Benghazi. And Fox chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge bragged that Fox News helped spur the House investigation.

    Right-wing media have repeatedly pushed conspiracy theories in order to scandalize the Obama administration’s response to the Benghazi attacks. Conservative media have claimed to have uncovered multiple “smoking gun[s]” proving that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration committed wrongdoing in responding to the attacks. By May 2, 2014, Fox had compared Benghazi to Iran-Contra, Watergate, and other controversial actions by the Nixon administration 120 times.  And conservatives continue to promote the false claim that the Obama administration issued a “stand down” order to soldiers responding to the Benghazi attacks.

    Right-wing media continue to fuel the Benghazi dumpster fire in an effort to hurt Hillary Clinton, and conservative Republicans seem all too happy to use the Benghazi Select Committee to investigate the right-wing media’s theories.

  • Fox News Cites Poll Supporting Abortion Restrictions But Fails To Disclose Anti-Choice Group That Commissioned It

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL LARRIS

    During coverage of the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, Fox News correspondent Shannon Bream reported that a recent poll found "81 percent of Americans think abortion should be limited to the first three months of pregnancy" without disclosing that the poll was commissioned by a "pro-life" group.

    Bream did not mention that the poll was commissioned by the Knights of Columbus, a self-identified "pro-life" group, that supports numerous anti-choice activities including the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., and believes life begins at "the moment of conception." According to Catholics for Choice, the Knights of Columbus has waged "a decades-long battle against abortion legislation."

    Other polling has found that 39 percent of Americans do not self-identify as either "pro-choice" or "pro-life" and that the wording of polling on abortion can influence the outcome. Vox found that "more people support abortion rights when the poll language focuses on women." A 2014 NARAL-commissioned poll of registered voters found "68.7 percent said that government should not restrict a woman's access to abortion."

    From the January 22 broadcast of America's Newsroom (emphasis added):

    SHANNON BREAM: And ahead of the event today we've got an interesting new poll from Marist. It shows that 81 percent of Americans think that abortion should be limited to first 3 months of pregnancy. That includes 66 percent, two thirds of people who in this survey identified themselves as pro-choice. The folks here today are arguing that there is common ground and they say, rather than fighting, they hope they can find that.

  • Megyn Kelly Gets Facts Wrong About Coalition Against Islamic State

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    Fox News' Megyn Kelly ignored the pledge of military assistance from allied countries to aid the United States in its fight against the Islamic State (IS) when she claimed that "no one is committing to help us." But just one hour earlier, Kelly's colleague Bill O'Reilly explained the commitments made by several countries to address the threat. 

    On the September 15 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File, host Megyn Kelly discussed recent airstrikes on the Islamic State by the United States, noting that Fox White House correspondent Ed Henry questioned whether Secretary of State John Kerry "has failed in building the broad coalition" to combat IS. Kelly asked "who will be with us" during continued military action against IS, before claiming that "no one is committing to help us":

    Kelly's claim ignores that, according to CNN, Australia will deploy "up to eight Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 combat aircraft, an E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft and a KC-30A multirole tanker and transport aircraft" to the region. France also began reconnaissance flights over Iraq, and told the Iraqi prime minister that it promised that France "will participate in efforts to hit terrorist locations in Iraq."

    Many other nations pledged assistance that doesn't include military strikes against IS targets, a fact that Kelly's Fox colleague, Bill O'Reilly, acknowledged one hour earlier. 

  • Fox Chops Context From Clip To Claim Eric Holder Is "Picking A Side" In Ferguson

    Blog ››› ››› ELLIE SANDMEYER

    Fox News selectively clipped Attorney General Eric Holder's Ferguson, Missouri, statement on the aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown to accuse him of taking sides against the police in the coming Justice Department investigation -- though Holder explicitly noted that, "as a father of a teenage son" and "as the brother of a retired law enforcement officer," he understands both sides.

    Days after selectively editing a statement from President Obama to claim the administration is "choosing sides" in Ferguson, Fox tried the same tactic with Holder. The network aired a deceptively clipped portion of Holder's July 21 statement about his visit to the town, which has been the center of national attention since unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was killed by an officer of the St. Louis County Police Department. 

    On Fox & Friends, Fox host Steve Doocy said the clip showed Holder "personally claiming that he understood the public's mistrust toward the police" in a way that may "inflame racial tension." Doocy suggested that "there's been a rush to judgment" by Holder and the administration. Fox News contributor Linda Chavez agreed that Holder was "basically picking a side." She went on to argue that the administration has been "playing the race card" and exploiting the black community for political gain:

    CHAVEZ: I do think there's something going on. I think it's politics, it's all about domestic politics. I think it's an exploitation of the black community. I think it is playing the race card and I think it's disgraceful.

    The full context of Holder's statement contradicts Fox's narrative that Holder has already sided with critics of the Ferguson police. The portion of the statement that Fox aired came immediately after Holder noted that felt personally affected by the tensions in Ferguson because he understood both sides on a personal level.

    Holder said that, "[a]s the brother of a retired law enforcement officer," he understood the " tremendous threats and significant personal risk" that police who "lives on the line every day" have to factor into rapid decision-making, but also noted that "as a father of a teenage son myself" he understands the community's need for answers.

    What's more, Holder's comments following the portion Fox aired go on to condemn the violence in Ferguson, with Holder stating, "I hope the relative calm that we witnessed overnight last night can be enduring. To a person yesterday, the people I met with, take great pride in their town and despite the mistrust that exists, they reject the violence that we have seen over the past couple of weeks."

    Here's a longer version of Holder's statement, from CNN (the portion Fox aired is in bold):

    Now although our investigation will take time, and although I cannot discuss the specifics of this case in greater detail since it remains open and very active, the people of Ferguson can have confidence in the federal agents, investigators and prosecutors who are leading this process. Our investigation will be fair, it will be thorough, and it will be independent.

    On a personal note, I've seen a lot in my time as attorney general but few things have affected me as greatly as my visit to Ferguson. I had the chance to meet with the family of Michael Brown. I spoke to them not just as attorney general, but as a father of a teenage son myself. They, like so many in Ferguson, want answers. In my conversations with dozens of people in Ferguson yesterday, it was clear that this shooting incident has brought to the surface underlying tensions that have existed for many years. There is a history to these tensions and that history simmers in more communities than just Ferguson.

    Law enforcement has a role to play in reducing tensions as well. As the brother of a retired law enforcement officer, I know firsthand that our men and women in uniform perform their duties in the face of tremendous threats and significant personal risk. They put their lives on the line every day and they often have to make split-second decisions.The national outcry we have seen speaks to a sense of mistrust and mutual suspicion that can take hold in the relationship between law enforcement and certain communities.

    I wanted the people of Ferguson to know that I personally understood that mistrust. I wanted them to know that while so much else may be uncertain, this attorney general and this Department of Justice stands with the people of Ferguson.I hope the relative calm that we witnessed overnight last night can be enduring. To a person yesterday, the people I met with, take great pride in their town and despite the mistrust that exists, they reject the violence that we have seen over the past couple of weeks.

    In that sense, while I went to Ferguson to provide' assurance, in fact, they gave me hope. My commitment to them is that long after this tragic story no longer receives this level of attention, the Justice Department will continue to stand with Ferguson. We will continue the conversation this incident has sparked about the need for trust building between law enforcement officers and the communities that they serve, about the appropriate use of force, and the need to ensure fair and equal treatment for everyone who comes into contact with the police.

  • Fox News Worried That Referring To Michael Brown As "Unarmed Teen" Might Be Misleading

    Blog ››› ››› MICHELLE LEUNG

    A Fox News segment asked whether the "unarmed teen" description of Michael Brown is misleading and featured Fox contributor Linda Chavez arguing that such a description enhances racial fears and is an attempt to play the "race card."

    On August 25, Chavez and Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy aired surveillance footage from the convenience store that Michael Brown allegedly robbed before his death, and used this to argue that describing Brown as an "unarmed teen" at the time of the shooting is misleading.

    In an op-ed Chavez wrote for the New York Postshe argued that "The actual images of Brown on the video surely do not bring to mind a harmless teen." During the segment on Fox, on-screen text asked if the "unarmed teen" description of Michael Brown was misleading while Chavez argued that Brown was an adult male "who is six foot four and weighs almost three hundred pounds":

    CHAVEZ: I think that what is happening is really not calming racial fears but is actually enhancing them by acting as if, you know, this mantra of the unarmed black teenager shot by a white cop. You know, that description in and of itself actually colors the way in which we look at this story. We're talking about an 18-year-old man who is six foot four and weighs almost three hundred pounds, who is videotaped just moments before the confrontation with a police officer strong arming an employee and robbing a convenience store.

  • Fox News Falsely Portrays Federal Investigation In Ferguson As Unusual

    ››› ››› MICHELLE LEUNG

    Fox News has repeatedly dismissed the federal civil rights investigation into the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, calling it "political optics" and an example of President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder playing "the race card." In fact, under long-standing civil rights law, the federal government has parallel investigative powers alongside local authorities and frequently investigates local police departments that may have a pattern or practice of abuse.